I’m late, I’m so sorry! I know I promised a January release of my story, ‘Her Neighbor’s Pleasure’, but life (read: family, work, other stuff) just gets in the way sometimes. The exciting news is, however, that I have sent the story off to my proof-reader which means we’re nearly there!!
What I’m looking for now are a few early readers willing to leave a review of the book on Amazon (or on one of the other online retailers where it will be available) so that the book doesn’t look all lonely and sad when it is published.
What do you think? Would you like to get an early copy (free, of course) and leave me an honest review?If so, just send me an email and let me know that you’re in.
My first collection of short stories, I Will Watch You, was published in the last week of January, but that just means the work is now really about to start…
It was wonderful to have the short stories finally published. The process took time, largely because I was learning my way around what’s involved in producing good-quality (which I hope it is!) self-published work.
With much of that learning curve behind me, my focus is returning to Tamar, the central character in my novella, the first draft of which is already completed. Tamar is divorced, a woman in her mid thirties who is looking for love and bursting with her own welling sexuality. How she manages to navigate the former while exploring the latter is the subject of the story. I look forward to it taking life.
In the meantime, expect a new piece of frum erotica to be published soon on Jewrotica. This one’s raunchy, so brace yourselves!
Finally, a special request: it makes a big difference to the Shosha Pearl project if you read, buy and REVIEW my stories. If you like them and have ten minutes spare, please drop a rating at your local Amazon or at Goodreads (the book will be listed from tomorrow). If you want to read them but don’t want to pay, you can always sign up to my mailing list.
The other great lesson I absorbed was that you are really only as good as your next work: write your book, get it out into the universe, but don’t stop there. If you want to quit your day job and spend your life doing what you love, you have to treat it with the same commitment you would any salaried position. You need to Write. Publish. Repeat.
So, I have been back at my keyboard, going on journeys I didn’t expect, with destinations as yet undetermined. A short story I wrote last week has morphed into something unidentifiable; another is waiting to be submitted for publication after the release of my story collection, ‘I Will Watch You’. Of course progress is slow when jobs, families, homes and life take priority over creativity. These little steps forward can only happen if I manage to get out of bed an hour or so earlier (not easy for a night person) and type away without reserve. But I am doing it…
At the same time, I am also finalising the ‘I Will Watch You’ collection and making it publication ready – this has been a long time coming considering the modesty of the work. The cover is now done. As you can see, it’s very pink, but we wanted to make it eye-catching so as to avoid burial amongst the crowds at Amazon. (You like?) I have a few short textual elements to insert, but the biggest task ahead is the formatting of the book for Kindle as well as for other platforms. This is the challenge that is making me nervous.
(Note: as you may have already noticed, the final version of the cover eventually changed.)
But once all that is done, the book should at last be delivered by the end of January 2015 (please G-d!). In anticipation of this, I have spent time over the past few days reworking the website. I have taken on board the experience of people who have visited the site and adjusted things accordingly – which is why the short stories are more visible on the front page. And I am trying to keep the conversation going on my blog which will (hopefully) soon evolve into a conversation with subscribers, hence the new sign-up widget on the site (please sign up, it really will be worthwhile!).
The little time that I do have for this creative endeavour is producing more – and better – outcomes than I could possibly have hoped. Shosha Pearl is a vehicle of creation who feels like she has found her moment. And now, Baruch Hashem, she has a face too!
Frankly, it’s all so very exciting. Please stay with me on the journey.
I like to make a bit of a deal about how I created my own literary sub-genre: ‘halachic erotica’ (halacha is the Hebrew term for Jewish law). It sounds indulgent – and perhaps it is – but I allow myself to dwell on it for a number of reasons:
1. It’s true. I really did make it up and I am proud of my creation – in a nachas rather than ga’avah kind of way. (In other words, I am proud in a parental pride kind of way rather than the ‘I’m so great, look at me’ way.)
2. Talking about the stories in literary terms works to distract the minds of people whose stunned expressions betray their confusion/horror at hearing what I write about. These expressions articulate the shock people feel when they learn that these sorts of stories exist – and then five seconds later, the sense of bemusement that they had never before heard of their existence (mention Jewrotica and you get much the same response). Often, it’s as if they are offended at the possibility that they’ve been left out of a communal circle of confidence. Explaining that I made up this outrageous form of Jewish fiction seems, somehow, to make everyone feel more comfortable about a world in which halachic erotica exists – and their place in this newly reconfigured reality.
3. It’s like putting a ribbon around a gift. Giving these stories, which I try to make beautiful, their own special genus seems appropriate. Just as I try to create something that is a pleasure to read, so too do I want to honour them -and the characters that emerge from them – by giving them a formal place in the world. This might seem trite, but it’s how I feel.
With few exceptions, the stories that I write are about the intimacy that exists between a Jewish woman and her husband. They are about the sacred sexual power that desire and love can have for couples. They are about longing, tenderness, passion and obsession – states of being that are common to couples of all creeds and colours, including religiously observant Jews.
When I started on this creative path the lighting was dim. I knew I wasn’t going to write about anything that conflicted with mainstream halacha and I guessed that a lot of the stories would involve frum types, but I didn’t know much more. It’s been a surprise that the stories that have come to life from my keyboard so far have focused exclusively on religiously observant Jews – although from a distance this seems an obvious outcome. I am curious to know how things will develop over time.
In the meantime, it is exciting to watch these little tales of lust unfold before me. They contain elements of the unexpected that surprise and delight me as their creator – and I hope there will be readers who share my pleasure in glimpsing briefly into the lives of these characters.
Rich, poor, Jewish or not; we all share common human drives and desires. I enjoy showing that religious Jews, like the rest of the world, enjoy sex, share desire and dream of sexual reward. The only differences are the cultural and religious frameworks that govern how much of the broader sexual landscape they are exposed to (eg porn, popular discourse) and, to an extent, how far halacha will let them go.
Really! It means you can’t hold on to the anticipation any longer: you don’t have that moment to look forward to – and there is a chance that everything could be downhill from here.
Although we live in hope.
I made the decision to publish my short story collection about four months ago. Once I realised this was an option, I became very (very!) excited – and not just because it offered a legitimate distraction from my novella, which had been causing me – and continues to cause me – confusion. It also provided an opportunity to do something with stories that I was proud of, but which, until then, I had not really known what I should do with.
A woman with a mission, I edited and re-edited and then sent my edited stories to be beta-read by friends, family and colleagues. All this was completed within two months (about seven weeks ago). But then, inexplicably, the momentum stopped and my manuscript sat waiting. And it waited.
I chose my cover art two months ago. Time after time I revisited the image bank to check that I liked the picture, to see if it still worked – I did and it did. But still, I did not buy it.
Then yom tov happened. So nothing else happened.
One of the amazing things about Tishrei is that after all the yammin tovim, I invariably feel like I need to make up for lost time. And no doubt I do. So, this week I finally began to appreciate that my short story collection was never going to exist in the world if I didn’t get it out there. I heard my own call to action.
Two nights ago I bought the cover art. I was exited (you like?).
Last night I emailed the image and instructions to a friend who is arranging for a designer to put together a cover (thank you!). It was a difficult email to write, but I am grateful for the enthusiastic response my friend sent me. My shoulders loosened and the thrill came back. Excitement.
Today, in an unexpectedly brave move, I sent my manuscript to an editor. Now it is real.
I am that person who hoards their favourite chocolates for so long that they turn grey (or worse, green!) – and then has to throw them out. I am that person who puts aside a gift voucher for a special occasion, but leaves it so long that I wind-up wasting it on something I don’t particularly like because it is about to expire (or worse, it has already expired!).
Delayed gratification is delicious. But delay too long and it gets moldy.
So this week Shosha Pearl, the writer of halachic Jewish erotica, started taking her project seriously again. I’ve popped the last chockie in my mouth and it is oozing delight all over.
I have just finished reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. It’s been a long time in coming and was, frankly, embarrassingly overdue, but finally now I can put my hand up and say I’ve done it.
And it was awful, but not so much for the reasons I expected. More on that later…
EL James’s ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘ was a seminal (!) part of my journey towards deciding to write ‘halachic’ erotica. The enormous splash the book made in the mainstream world was fascinating in itself, but what was even more interesting was the slowly revealed news that observant Jewish women were reading the books. And enjoying them!
I have always been interested in erotic literature as a genre; not just for its content, but also to know who is reading it and what they like, and, of course, who is writing it and how well they are doing. The Fifty Shades phenomenom meant that all this information was being discussed openly and a lot – in the media and online. And I was consuming all the details with fascination.
One of the intriguing details that emerged at the time was that ethnic and faith specific erotica was becoming increasingly attractive. Christian erotic literature, in particular, was on the rise, which made me ponder whether there might be an audience for Jewish erotic literature. And then, right on time, came Jewrotica. I was suddenly incredibly excited.
Jewrotica provided a forum for people to explore erotic stories and ideas within a Jewish context. And it gave me confidence to think that my increasing interest in exploring erotic writing within a frum (observant Jewish) context. I wanted to write about and for halachically observant people, while making things accessible enough for anyone to read and understand.
In 2012 I wrote my first short story in my newly created sub-genre, halachic Jewish erotica, entitled ‘Little Secret, Big Secret’. Then, within a few months of Jewrotica’s appearance I wrote some more stories and Shosha Pearl was born.
Here’s my declaration: I, Shosha Pearl, am writing a novella. So, now you know.
There is diverse opinion on when it is best to announce to the world that you are writing a book. Logically, it would seem best to wait until you have finished something before you start talking about it (so as to avoid bringing on the ayin harah, the evil eye, and all that…or, more likely, just a great deal of embarrassment when it comes to nothing).
But all the commercially-minded author experts and bloggers out there recommend that you start releasing information about your work in the six months leading up to its publication.
So, with two solid months of dedicated writing (in between work, family, life, nonsense), with more than 25,000 words saved and with a publication target of before Rosh Hashanah, I feel OK about saying something to the universe.
Here are the details:
I am currently working on the first of what I expect will be a four-part series of novellas.
The books will focus on the sexual and erotic explorations of a thirty-something frum divorcee, Tamar Cohen. Her journey will survey the sexual landscape available to unmarried observant Jewish women who are prepared to bend some of the rules – or to go with the most meikil (halachically lenient) views – but who are not willing to step outside the bounds of halacha.
Tamar’s sensual explorations will also be coupled with a search for love, meaning and happiness. Of course.
All four books will be novellas, which means that each will be somewhere in the region of 30 to 50,000 words (roughly one third to one half the length of a standard novel).
The books will have sex, nudity and adult themes. So be warned!
I am hoping to have the first book out before Rosh Hashanah and then the second six months after that. I think the books will be fun. And hot. And perhaps even interesting. At least, I hope so…
I have been reading erotic literature for many years and have been dabbling at writing it for almost as long. In the past year, however, I have thought how fabulous it would be to read good erotic stories set within the framework of Jewish life. Judaism, Jewish history and Jewish ideas are rich mines for the erotic, because as a people we are not scared of sex and sexuality. And while we as individuals might take issue with some aspects of Jewish law as it pertains to sexuality, it is, on the whole, a spiritual and cultural discourse which understands and accommodates the importance of sex and healthy sexual relationships for men and women. It was wonderful, therefore, to see the recent launch of the online magazine for Jewish erotic writing, Jewrotica. This launch, exciting as it was on its own, was made more so by the fact that I had finally started to write my own erotic short stories set in a Jewish context. Such synchronicity! When starting out on my new project I gave some considerable thought concerning the shape these stories would take. I wanted to make this adventure as inclusive as possible. As a result, I decided to ensure that my stories were all kept halachically acceptable. In other words, while some of them are risque, they don’t breach any aspects of Jewish law in relation to sexual practices. And the good thing is that the scope is broad. You can, technically at least, do a lot and not transgress halacha. Most of my characters are frum. This has not been a strategic decision, it’s just the way the stories are forming right now. But who knows what the future will bring. Either way, thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the stories as they materialise. Shosha x
Welcome to the all new Shosha Pearl website, where you will find my portfolio of Jewish erotic writing. This site is still in its infancy but I hope to have a range of stories available for you soon. Please take a look around – I hope you enjoy your visit.